Pierre Herme Macarons

I know the whole baking world’s gone a bit mac-mad but you know, I just don’t really get what all the fuss is about. To me, macaroons seem a bit uptight, definitely too pretentious to be my ideal cake. And I feel downright queasy about all the artificial colours and flavours that go into them.

Also, while I’m getting this off my chest, I suspect a cabal of po-faced French patissiers of whipping home cooks into a frenzy of inadequacy over something which is, after all, a jumped-up meringue. IThe truth is they’re not actually that difficult to make – Laura and I make them for our Uparwali Chai tea parties and neither of us have ever set foot inside the Cordon Bleu.

We’ve been hearing a lot about a macaronnier called Pierre Hermé recently – he’s apparently won the Parisian battle of the macs and robbed Ladurée of the title Macaroon King. Laduree has had a shop in Harrods for some time and Hermé has just recently opened one to huge fanfare in Selfridges.

As I was walking past Selfridges the other day (being dragged to Primark by my teenage daughter), I couldn’t resist having a look. Hermé has a very fetching display in the food hall, staffed by extremely reverential young men who explain the flavours to you in a rather disdainful manner – ‘But Madame, how could you not know that ‘Arabesque’ means apricot and pistachio?’. I’m a sucker for a craze, though, and bought a box anyway, (£14 for 7!).

I took them to a friend’s house for dinner and actually they were very nice. Not mind-blowing, but pleasant enough. The best ones are those with very defined flavours like the Magnifique (strawberry and wasabi), I also loved the salted butter caramel and Eden (peach, apricot and saffron). Possibly the best part of the Hermé macaroons though is the packaging, a very pretty box, indeed. The worst is the ridiculous leaflet – ‘Your favourite Macaron will just not taste the same if mispronounced’.  And don’t get me started on the ‘finish’ of a macaroon.  Makes me want to rush off and make a batch of Eccles Cakes

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13 thoughts on “Pierre Herme Macarons

  1. Yeah that’s kind of pretentious. But I am a big macaroon fan; I think to Australians they really represent the absolute pinnacle of the Euro flair and sophistication we strive for but never quite achieve. Canapay, anyone?

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  3. Lovely post! As a food blogger myself, you might be interested in attending the International Food Bloggers Conference on August 27-29,2010 by Foodista. You may also seek for sponsorship if you are having funding difficulties. For more details, check this page out.

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  4. Hi Pamela,
    Since I’ve just discovered your delightful blog today, you’ll probably see a whole bunch of comments from me in one day!
    Did make my first pistachio macs yesterday, nothing complicated , but so sad looking, absolutely flat, no feet! They tasted quite yummy so sandwiched them with choc ganache atop fresh mango icecream and served them with a smile and a heavy heart! Family loved them tho’ and polished of the whole batch in a blink!

  5. Natasha – macaroons can be tricky – so many things can push them over the edge! What recipe were you using? What sort of oven? Email me direct if you’d like a bit more help

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